5 Ways To Use Echo
5 Ways To Use The Echo Effect
When it comes to adding a bit of creative flair to your DJ sets the echo effect is probably one of the most versatile tools in your arsenal. It's one of the most popular FX you will find on the Beat FX panel of the popular Pioneer DJM mixer range. Below are some quick tips on how you can use the echo to help transform your DJ sets. Before using any of these techniques make sure that your echo is set to the correct channel and make sure the BPM on the FX unit matches the BPM of your track.
Echo on a Build-up
Adding echo in a build up of a track can help create tension before the drop. A short echo works really well for this, anywhere between 1/4 - 1 beat works really well if your using the beat FX on Pioneer equipment.
Many DJs will rhythmically skip between the settings during the build and finally reduce the fraction or milliseconds just before the drop to create a crescendo effect. You can use the 'Time Mode' dial to change the echo by millisecond. If you have the option to apply to FX to the High, Mid or Low EQ try different combinations and what different results you can get during the build-up.
Be sure to switch the echo off just before the track drops so that you get maximum impact when it drops back in. If the echo runs too long it will overlap the drop and ruin its impact.
Echo in a Breakdown
Breakdowns in music can sometimes be the best part of a track but they can sometimes end up feeling a bit empty or become slightly boring. To help add a bit of life try using and echo in the ambient sections of your tracks. Longer echos can work really well anywhere between 1/2 and 2 beats on the beat FX section of a pioneer mixer (try cycling through the different values as the breakdown plays to add a little more movement). Additionally why not try the Dub or Space echo in the sound colour FX section of the mixer on your breakdowns also as they can be just as effective.
You can also apply Echo to a vinyl backspin to add extra flair to the backspin transition.
Echo on an Acapella
Working with acapellas in your DJ sets can be a great way to add some interest and opens up plenty of opportunities to be even more creative. Sometimes tough acapellas can sound a little ‘dry’ adding a short echo can help give your acapellas a little more depth and is a nice alternative to reverb in this situation.
Echo as a Transitional Mix
Transitioning from one genre to the next can sometimes be a difficult task. At some point in your DJ career you may find your self in a situation where you need to take over from another DJ that plays a completely different style of music to you and it may be impossible to beat match. The next best alternative is using an echo on the outgoing track and starting your track.
The key to this is timing and making sure you start the next track at an interesting part of the song that has a good impact. Set a cue point on an section of the track that would be a good start point, such as the beginning of a breakdown or the build up but not at the start of a long intro.
Chopping & Cutting with Echo
Chopping or cutting with the volume faders is a great way to emphasise certain parts of your tracks whilst DJ’ing. Using this technique whilst applying some echo works really well with both the beat FX and the Space or Dub echo found in the sound colour FX section. For this you’ll find that anywhere between 1/4 - 1 beat works really well, anything longer and things can start to sound a little messy. Try pulling the channel fader down when turning the echo up on the 1/2 beat setting, then rhythmically cut up and down creating different patterns. You can apply the same technique to the crossfader.
Have a go at trying some of these techniques out while practicing and see how they start to transform the way you DJ. For more DJ skills and advice check out our DJ courses. Lessons are available both online and in our studios.